Local News

Easley Unveils Education Goals In State of the State Address

Posted February 18, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST

— Governor Mike Easley unveiled a "No Excuses" agenda in his"State of the State address"Monday. He tied his focus on education to a lottery, but he did not say specifically how he is going to deal with the budget problems.

Easley proposed implementing a Pre-Kindergarten program for at-risk children, lower class size in grades kindergarten through third and direct school boards to develop a plan for character education and reasonable dress codes.

The governor wants to pay for the proposals with money that North Carolina residents spend out of state on lotteries.

"You can't just say I'm against a lottery for education, you have to finish the sentence," he said. "Tell me what you're for because next year, 100,000 5-year olds will show up at the school house door, and they deserve more than an overcrowded classroom and an underpaid, overworked teacher."

Governor Easley said the the amount of money residents spend on lottery tickets out of state is not small change.

"If anyone here has a better idea, or if anyone has another way to find the $400 or $500 million for education, I'm open to it. Show me the money," he said.

Other Easley proposals include a patient's bill of rights to assure that the insurance companies are accountable to consumers and a prescription drug plan for seniors that will be funded with money from the national tobacco settlement.